Faculty Assembly

Chris Taylor, Ph.D. 
Faculty Assembly President

Recent activity of the School of Medicine Faculty Assembly has been largely concerned with gathering and disseminating information related to faculty benefits changes that have occurred this year.  This has been a time-critical process due to decisions that faculty needed to make during the annual enrollment period that ran from October 1 through November 15th.  This year included changes in 403b retirement providers and provider offerings.  In addition, faculty assembly has been heavily involved with resolving recent issues that have arisen with one of our health care providers with regard to pharmacy benefits management.  A special meeting was held for the faculty to have open discussion with this provider’s representatives on October 9th and the issues raised have been elevated to the highest level.  The assembly will continue to monitor progress on a resolution to these issues. 

Faculty assembly has also recently worked to obtain clarification from administration on policies regarding travel and the new Louisiana State Board of Ethics form 413f.  This form must be filled whenever a faculty member attends a meeting for which any part of the meeting is paid for by an outside entity that is not a governmental agency.  This includes any waiver of registration fees for the meeting in addition to direct payment of airfare, lodging, meals, etc.  The form must be filed within 60 days of accepting the invitation to the meeting. 

Lastly, faculty assembly has continued to gather and disseminate information related to several planned renovation projects that will impact our faculty including the planned expansion to CSRB for animal care, and the proposed renovations to the 5th, 6th, and 7th floors of the MEB. 

Editorial Note: 

Since the last faculty assembly meeting, a resolution was achieved regarding the health insurance issue.  The e-mail from Dean Nelson reads as follows: 

“Chancellor Hollier, Vice Chancellor Murray, Director of External Relations Vidrine and myself met with the Audit Committee of the LSU Board of Supervisors on Friday to discuss the repayment of funds to LSU First for certain prescriptions that were in question. It was decided that prescriptions filled before the August 2018 letters that our physicians received from LSU First will be forgiven and anyone who paid LSU First the amount requested in that letter would be reimbursed.   

I want to thank President Alexander and the Board of Supervisors for their support of this important faculty issue.” 


LOCUS is Now Tiger Pride!

Ayesha Umrigar (Co-President, Tiger Pride) 

Since its inception almost seven years ago we were known as LGBT+Allies Organization for the Cultural Understanding in the Health Sciences (LOCUS).  This was a mouthful, so we simply called ourselves “LOCUS”.  However, without saying the full name, it was not obvious that we were an organization for all LGBTQ individuals and their allies.  Therefore, in order to make it clearer that we are the campus LGBTQ+ organization, we have changed our name from LOCUS to Tiger Pride, with our logo including a rainbow colored Tiger.   We feel that this new name will make it easier for students and other organizations to identify us as an inter-professional student organization aimed at advancing awareness and advocating for the LGBTQ community.  

One of our current Co-Presidents, Ayesha Umrigar, is graduating next year, and will be stepping down as Co-President in December in order to focus on her research. Please email either Ayesha (aumrig@lsuhsc.edu) or Mirandy Li (mli2@lsuhsc.edu) if you or someone you know may be interested in the position. Mirandy Li will be remaining as Co-president. 

We are currently brainstorming topics for our annual LGBTQ Healthcare Symposium, which will be held in April. Some previously suggested topics were drug/substance abuse in the LGBTQ Community, and domestic abuse in the LGBTQ community. If you would like to suggest any other topics or recommend a panelist then please email Ayesha or Mirandy. 

Tiger Pride has a new web page manager. Kacey Hashm from the School of Nursing will now be managing the Tiger Pride website. Be sure to check out the site (https://www.medschool.lsuhsc.edu/cmhe/locus/), which provides links to resources for LGBTQ students, in addition to the general community. This site is also where we post information about any upcoming events. If there is anything else that you think should be on the website, please email either Kacey Hashm (khashm@lsuhsc.edu) or Ayesha Umrigar.  

If you would like to receive emails from Tiger Pride, there is an option on our website to subscribe to our listserv. To protect the privacy of our members, we use the “blind carbon copy” for email correspondence. This means that you can’t see the other recipients of the email and they can’t see you. If you are interested in joining our listserv, please email co-presidents Mirandy Li, or Ayesha Umrigar (aumrig@lsuhsc.edu). 

We are currently selling rainbow caduceus (shown below) pins for $5 to raise money for Tiger Pride. If you are interested in purchasing a pin, please email Ayesha.  

As always, feel free to reach out to Co-Presidents Mirandy Li or Ayesha Umrigar if you have any questions or concerns.  

Association for Women in Science (AWIS)

The Southern Louisiana chapter of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) held a successful fundraiser on September 19 at Painting with a Twist in Metairie, with over 35 participants (left, Carmen Canavier, president, the owner of Painting with a Twist presenting the check, and fundraising chair and former president Angela Amedee. We ran a booth at a STEM outreach event for Girl Scouts at the University of New Orleans on September 29, organized by Crescent Combe. Activities included “dress like a scientist” and “squishy circuits” (center, demonstration by Katelyn Gurley).  We had a business meeting on Tuesday, October 2 at which Lisa Harrison-Bernard presented Ayesha Umrigar with her travel award (right panel).  Our next planned event is a potluck Thanksgiving luncheon on November 14th. We have a new website where people can join and also apply for the travel award. 


Our Labor of Love: An Undergraduate Pipeline for Diverse Student Scholars  

Allison C. Augustus-Wallace, PhD, MS, MNS,       
Assistant Professor-Research and Director of Undergraduate Pipeline Programs 

School of Medicine, Office of Diversity & Community Engagement

Over the past several years, the partnership between our Health Sciences Center’s Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Public Health, and Center for IPE has dedicated many hours towards the development and implementation of our LSU Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP). As a result, we welcomed two cohorts of students during the summers of 2017 and 2018, respectively, serving nearly 200 students.

Our scholars, who represented various two- and four-year institutions from throughout the state of Louisiana and the nation, were engaged for six-weeks in a combination of didactic, small learning groups, and laboratory settings. Consequently, it was determined that 100% of the scholars experienced an overall improvement or average learning gain of 20% for 2017.  For 2018, 100% of the scholars experienced an overall improvement/average learning gain of 25%.

We take this opportunity to reflect on our collective commitment and success to “our labor of love” and thank our administration, LSUHSC-NO professional schools’ students, and student-workers, as well as recognize our devoted 2017 and 2018 LSUHSC-NO SHPEP Faculty for their time and efforts with our scholars.

2017 and 2018 LSUHSC-NO SHPEP Faculty: 

Anatomy: Jay Mussell

Clinical Exposures & Workshops in Dentistry: Stephen Brisco and Suzanne Fournier (2017)

Clinical Exposures & Workshops in Medicine: Jamie Alleyn, Pierre Detiege, Jennifer Hart, Angela McLean, David Smith, Alan Kaye, and Patrick Greiffenstein

Clinical Exposures & Workshops in Public Health: Benjamin Springgate (2018)

Cultural Competency: Patricia Molina (2018)

Genetics: Fern Tsien (2018)

Health Policy: Dean Smith

Interprofessional Education (IPE): Tina Gunaldo, Sandra Andrieu, Shane Sanne, Shannon Mangum; Sonia Gasparini, Alison Davis, and Kari Brisolara

Medical Simulation Labs: Daryl Lofaso, Sergii Rusnak

Microbiology: Doug Johnston, Jennifer Cameron, Hong Xin; Graduate Students: Hannah Albritton and Diana Battaglia

Organic Chemistry & Physics: Arthur Haas

Pharmacogenomics: Paula Gregory (2018)

Pharmacogenomics Simulation Labs (Xavier University at Louisiana, College of Pharmacy): Christopher Williams (2017) and Tommy Morris (2018).

Physiology: Lisa Harrison-Bernard, Maureen Basha (2018), Michael Levitzky; Flavia Souza-Smith

Public Health-Epidemiology and Biostatistics: Ed Trapido, Tekeda Ferguson, Evrim Oral

As well, a special thanks to our LSUHSC-NO, SHPEP Fiscal Analyst, Emma Kostur, along with our colleagues in Sponsored Projects and Human Resources. A very special thanks to our academic health center partner UMCNO, which opened its doors to our student scholars to provide and invaluable exposure to clinical medicine. Finally, it is with great pleasure that we showcase several of our 2017 and 2018 LSUHSC-NO SHPEP Alumni:

2017 LSUHSC-NO SHPEP Alumni 

Pedro Jimenez Antenucci: Presently a junior majoring in Chemistry at Southeastern University of Louisiana (SELA) in Hammond, LA., who was selected during the summer of 2018, to participate in the National Science Foundation-Research Experience for Underrepresented Undergraduates (NSF-REU) at Pennsylvania State University. While there, he studied under the mentorship of Dr. David D. Boehr, Department of Chemistry and presented a poster presentation entitled, “Speed and Fidelity of the Poliovirus RNA Dependent RNA Polymerase”.

Tommy Giang: Presently a junior majoring in Chemistry at Xavier University, New Orleans, Louisiana. Mr. Giang was selected as a 2018 NSF-REU intern here at LSUHSC-NO and studied under the mentorship of Dr. Lisa Moreno-Walton MD, MS, MSCR, FAAEM UMCNO Emergency Department, LSUHSC School of Medicine. Mr. Giang presented a poster entitled, “Characteristics and Demographics of Patients Who Tested Positive for HIV in the University Medical Center New Orleans Emergency Department”.

Sam Henry: Presently a senior at Howard University, majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry, with medical career aspirations in orthopedics. Mr. Henry has been selected as a 2018 ARCHES Fellow, Georgetown University’s fellowship program that engages eight selected rising juniors and rising seniors interested in pursuing medical education. The experience provides access both to clinical and research activities at Georgetown University.

Aliyah Pierre: Presently a junior at LSU in Baton Rouge, majoring in Biochemistry, Ms. Pierre began her career in our pipeline programs as a participant in the Summer Science Program (SSP), housed in LSUHSC-NO, School of Medicine’s, Office of Diversity and Community Engagement. In 2018, Ms. Pierre was selected as an NSF-REU intern at LSUHSC-NO, where under the mentorship of Dr. Rinku Majumder, Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, she studies the molecular mechanisms involved in the Protein S (a natural anticoagulant) antibody on the plasma factor IX pathway. Her presentation was awarded second place among our REU students and third place at the overall summer student research symposium, in which 50 participants competed from throughout the LSU Health Sciences campus.

Ajah Smith: Presently, a junior majoring in Biochemistry at LSU in Baton Rouge, who has been selected as an LSU President’s Millennial Scholar, which is a programmatic initiative by the LSU, Office of Diversity, a division of the LSU, Office of Academic Affairs.


Caretia Washington: Presently, a junior majoring in Microbiology at LSU in Baton Rouge, who has been selected as an LSU President’s Millennial Scholar, which is a programmatic initiative by the LSU, Office of Diversity, a division of the LSU, Office of Academic Affairs.

As we celebrate the success of our former scholars, it is our hope that our efforts continue to support them and others of these two cohorts on a successful academic path that returns them to one of our LSUHSC-NO professional schools in the future.


Faculty Assembly Report

Chris Taylor, Ph.D.
Faculty Assembly President

The School of Medicine Faculty Assembly met for the first time of the new academic year on August 2nd, 2018.  We welcomed in our newly seated representatives:

Basic Science: Lisa Campeau, Mike Levitzky, Stefany Primeaux, and Peter Winsauer

Clinical Science: Kyle Fulton, Raegan Gupta, Ernest James, Dana LeBlanc, Margaret Moore, Mihran Naljayan, Staci Olister, and La’Nasha Tanner.

We thanked our outgoing officers for their service, in particular, past President John Hunt was thanked for his service and will remain as an at-large member of faculty assembly.

Leadership positions for the 2018-2019 academic year include:

  • President: Christopher Taylor
  • President Elect: Sanjay Kamboj
  • Secretary: Pinki Prasad
  • Administrative Council Representatives: Kyle Happel (clinical) and Peter Winsauer (basic)
  • Senators: Sanjay Kamboj (Senate President), Judy Crabtree (Senate President-Elect), Bradley Spieler (Senate Past President), Christopher Taylor, Ernest James, Lisa Campeau, Stacey Holman, and John Hunt.

Annette Arboneaux from Human Resources was invited to the last meeting and spoke to the assembly for an hour about recent changes to the 403(b) retirement vendors, along with answering questions regarding reimbursement of prescriptions written by members of LSU First health insurance for members of their own household.  She also discussed the recent change in parking benefits to a post-tax deduction from a pre-tax deduction.

Faculty Assembly meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month at 4pm in Seminar Room 7 of the 6th Floor of the Lions Building and are open to any faculty to attend.  Please reach out to your faculty assembly representatives to bring issues of interest to the general faculty to the assembly’s attention.  The roster of faculty assembly delegates can be found on our website:  https://www.medschool.lsuhsc.edu/faculty_assembly/ 


Association for Women in Science (AWIS)

Carmen Canavier, Ph.D.
President, AWIS

The Southern Louisiana chapter of Association for Women in Science (AWIS) co-sponsored a Sci-Fly speed mentoring event for high school and undergraduate summer researchers at LSUHSC on July 16. The event was organized by Dr. Allison Augustus-Wallace and was attended by over 100 participants including mentors and mentees.

The local chapter also sponsored a back-to-school mixer on August 16 for AWIS supporters, which was attended by more than fifty graduate students, postdocs and faculty. The door prize was a ticket to Painting with a Purpose, which is the local chapter’s fundraiser to support their educational and outreach effort and the Outstanding Young Scientist Travel Award. The winner of the award this fall is Ayesha Umrigar, a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Fern Tsien, Department of Genetics.  The next AWIS outreach event will be a science-themed booth at the Believe in Girls event for Girl Scouts to be held at the University of New Orleans on Saturday, September 29 from 9:30 am until 2:00pm. Please contact Carmen Canavier at ccanav@lsuhsc.edu if you are interested in volunteering.



New Faculty Assembly Delegates

Christopher Taylor, PhD
Faculty Assembly President 

We are pleased to announce that the following faculty have been elected to serve a 3-year term (2018 -2021) on the SOM Faculty Assembly. 

 Basic Science Delegates 

  • Lisa Campeau (Cell Biology and Anatomy) 
  • Michael Levitzky (Physiology) 
  • Stefany Primeaux (Physiology) 
  • Peter Winsauer (Pharmacology) 

Clinical Science Delegates 

  • Kyle Fulton (Pediatrics) 
  • Raegan Gupta (Pediatrics) 
  • Earnest James (Family Medicine) 
  • Dana Leblanc (Pediatrics) 
  • Margaret Moore (Surgery) 
  • Mihran Naljayan (Med-Nephrology) 
  • Stacy Olister (Pediatrics) 
  • LaNasha Tanner (OB/Gyn) 

Over the next three years, each of these delegates will provide an important voice for the faculty in the School of Medicine and each member of the faculty should feel comfortable in asking them to bring faculty concerns to the Faculty Assembly meetings.  Delegates serve an important role in all of the activities of the School of Medicine and without their help the School would be a lesser place.  Please join us in congratulating each of these delegates. 


AWIS Adopts Family for Christmas

Laura Erwin
Graduate Student 

Over the Christmas holidays, the South Louisiana chapter of the Association for Women in Science adopted one senior and one family with three children aged 3, 8 and 11 through the Salvation Army’s Christmas donor program. The donors were mostly composed of LSUHSC faculty, postdocs and students, as is the chapter itself, but we had participation from the Tulane Medical School as well. Through the coordinated efforts of Drs. Carmen Canavier and Sonia Gasparini, we provided the family with a gift card and wrapping materials in addition to the pictured gifts. The response was so generous that we will likely adopt more individuals next year.

The AWIS South Louisiana chapter is dedicated to empowering women in science and technology by providing a platform for networking opportunities and career development programs, and to promoting an interest in science among young women. The AWIS SE Louisiana chapter welcomes all persons interested in furthering the careers of women in science.

If you are interested in joining the local AWIS chapter, please contact our treasurer, Dr. Donna Neumann at dneum1@lsuhsc.edu.

If anyone is interested in learning more about us, please contact anyone on the Executive Committee; we would be glad to provide more information.

Local Executive Board members are:

  • Jane Eason (SAHP), President
  • Tekeda Ferguson (SOPH), Secretary
  • Donna Neumann (SOM), Treasurer
  • Angela Amedee (SOM), Past-President
  • Crescent Combe (SOM) – Post-Doc Representative
  • Adrienne McGinn (SOGS) – Graduate Student Representative